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I wouldn't do it - but anyone who knows me knows that already. :)

Can an R8 be driven in the snow? Sure. Can you wear a tuxedo to the gym? Sure. It's not a question of whether you CAN do it, but there's a real question of "fit for purpose." The car is about 4 inches off the ground, so the clearance isn't great. I've had a front bumper (on a 3-series, many years ago) get a chunk taken out of it by a piece of ice in the road. That wasn't inexpensive to fix... but it would be far more expensive on an R8.

The stock tires are 305 in the rear - you can go a bit narrower with winter tires, but this is far from ideal width-wise in the snow. The normal power distribution is 15% front, 85% rear. At max, 30% can be shifted to the front. It's something, but don't confuse it with a great AWD system for snow driving. It's optimized for grip under performance driving conditions, not snow.

Road salt? I know you said you recognize the risks, but still... the R8 is designed to ingest tons of air - huge intakes on the front, sides, and NACA ducts underneath. Think about where you're sucking in that salt. There's no way to protect from the damage it will do - it's not the undertray you need to worry about but your engine bay (and everything in it), radiators, suspension, etc.

The rear hatch is open to the elements, of course - so if you're parking it outside with snow, rain, etc., you should expect some issues. One such example? The metal mesh that covers engine components on the left and right sides of the engine bay will rust where water enters the engine bay, continuously dripping on them from the side vents.

I could see taking an R8 for a fun spin in some fresh snow on a country road. But driving it routinely in snow, commuting, with road salt, lots of other drivers, etc... this is just a fish out of water scenario. Again, you can make it do it, but it doesn't mean this is the car's element or what it was designed to do. If you're going to get an R8 (and you should - they're fantastic cars!), keep it as a fun car that you drive in conditions where it'll actually do what it was intended to do.


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Just because it CAN be done doesn't mean it SHOULD be done...

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Car Wheel Tire Snow Vehicle


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Never driven mine with snow tires but I drive chicago winter roads all winter on ps4 and find it fine. If there is a quarter inch of snow it's an absolute death trap. But again not using winter tires and our roads are pretty well cleared and treated and probably warmer from constant traffic doing 60mph.
Even without snow on the ground, you shouldn't drive on summer tires below around 40 degrees - they're just dangerous. Even if you can't feel it under normal driving, the traction is severely compromised. The summer tire compound needs warm weather to work as designed, and it'll get brittle and stiff (loses its elasticity) in cold temperatures, losing traction. Even if you're not planning to accelerate or corner hard, you'd be in a bad spot if you needed to emergency brake from highway speeds - the stopping distance could be very poor. Likewise, in really cold temperatures, the tires can crack or chip, and then you really need to replace them.
 

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I dint know EZ. Yes, It's surely true that winter tires would be much better to have but i think it's a real overexageration to worry too much about having the summer tires in the winter. I drive totally differently in the winter and don't at all push the car in the cold. The tires work fine. I leave more stopping space.

Who says they don't work? The tire manufacturers who are trying to sell winter tires? And what exactly is the loss in a 65mph to zero stop on a highway in a major city with treated roads and warmth from the friction from traffic? I doubt too much. Still stops faster than most regular cars on the road.
I'll concede that you won't necessarily notice it if you're (a) driving on a perfectly dry road, and (b) you're taking it easy.

However, it's definitely not the tire industry just trying to pull the wool over your eyes. You can search on the term "glass transition temperature" to understand the details - I know you're the kind of guy who will read up on it! In short, it's a staple of engineering around plastics, rubbers, polymers, etc. I'm not a chemical engineer, but my layman's understanding is that it describes the point (temperature) at which the compound transitions between "rigid" and "flexible" states based largely upon changes in molecular behavior at that transition point.

The glass transition temperature ("Tg") is higher in stiffer compounds (as noted in the excerpt below), meaning it transitions to this more rigid (glass like) state at a higher temperature than softer, more flexible counterparts. Again, I'm not a chemical engineer, or a tire professional, but this would seem to make sense in the context of summer tire compounds, given that these tires are intentionally made of stiffer compounds that offer lower rolling resistance and better performance in higher temperatures.

Are you going to immediately fly off the road when the temperature reaches 40F degrees? Clearly not. But the tire is clearly not optimized for these temperatures, and the chemistry here would seem to indicate it'll only get worse the lower the temperature goes. Will you notice it? Maybe most prominently during the warm-up period, and then it may seemingly "go away." But you also live in Chicago, so you're going to be dealing with temperatures well below the recommended cut-off of 40F degrees.

I'll leave you with a scenario here to ponder. You're traveling down the highway at 65 or 70mph and need to emergency brake. It's 5F degrees out. You end up rear-ending the car in front of you. Was it due to compromised stopping distance of your summer tires, or was it simply an unavoidable situation even in the best of summer conditions? Your opinion on it probably doesn't matter. Your insurance adjuster comes out to inspect your totaled R8 and notes... ah, you were driving on ultra high performance summer tires in the dead of a Chicago winter. Coverage denied. Why? Well, you were negligent, knowingly operating the vehicle with tires that the manufacturer states are only for summer use. This was a "preventable accident."

Sounds silly? Places like Quebec have apparently institutionalized this - you're at fault if riding on summer tires in the winter (Dec 15 - Mar 15). Moreover, insurance companies can deny a claim on the grounds that it was an "avoidable" or "preventable" accident. A Traveler's Insurance "Guide for determining motor vehicle accident preventability" seemingly quotes the National Safety Council (NSC) definition on preventable accidents as: "a preventable collision is a collision in which the driver failed to do everything reasonable to avoid it." A pretty broad definition that leaves plenty of room to point to your negligent choice of tires as the culprit... especially useful if it helps avoid a six figure claim.

And hey, the guy you hit, he's seeing dollar signs - you were in a fancy supercar, and he's now complaining of back pains. Never mind his chronic back issues, he's found a meal ticket for the surgery he couldn't afford up until now! :) Or... what if the person you hit died? Insurance has walked away from you, and you're staring at a lawsuit from the grieving family. Now you've got to prove your bad choice of tires had nothing to do with it... despite an entire industry that says otherwise.

Sure, that's all worst case scenario stuff, and you could easily argue none of it will come to pass. None of it LIKELY would, statistically speaking, again I'll concede. But, that's an expensive gamble... one that could cost a pretty penny.

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You may also find this helpful - a Chicago area law firm's take on "at fault" injury based upon bad tires and negligence. While they don't speak to improper equipment (maybe not enough people choosing to drive around on summer tires in Chicago winters??), the general concepts should apply here. You may need their number - don't lose it! :)

 

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EZ is enjoyable to have on the forum, but I want to get him on a tequila bender in Mexico and then buy him a rub and tug at ont of my favorite places.


I dont believe those studies by the tire companies just like i dint believe the Marlboro telling me they have a study telling me smoking is good for me.


The argument about coverage being denied is a very interesting one and I never considered it. But..... I'm going on a tequila bender in Mexico instead of dealing with swapping out my tires......
Hahaha... Don't get in too much trouble there! You keep it interesting around here, Judd!
 

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How low the temps can go before that potentially changes? I have no idea.
Yes, indeed - same here... and unwilling to find out. :)
 
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